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Find Solutions to "What’s for Dinner?"

The age-old question "what's for dinner?" stumps many households. Read on to see how you and your family can navigate this question with ease and make it something to look forward to.

The first thing on most people's minds after a long day at work or school is: "What's for dinner?" It's the age-old question that many Americans hear as the dinner hour approaches and bellies start to grumble.

But if you don't have a plan, how do you navigate this question? Does this question bring you dread or excitement? If it brings on any feelings of concern or anxiety, read on for some strategies to navigate this question with ease the next time around!

Have an Already Established Plan for Dinner

Most of us have busy schedules that make it difficult to plan and prepare a meal the day of. To prevent having to do too much in one night and reduce stress, plan several dinner meals in advance to ensure you have the ingredients already on hand and know how much time it'll take to prep the night of.

To meal plan:

  1. Start by brainstorming - use recipe websites, cookbooks, cooking magazines, meal plans, social media sites, recipe recommendations, or other resources you like to use for meal ideas!

  2. Write it down - use a journal, notebook, paper scraps, calendar, chalkboard, dry-erase board, website, phone app, or other resource to jot down your meal ideas and when you plan to eat them.

  3. Use up ingredients already on hand first - look first at what is already available in your fridge, freezer, pantry for meal planning and prepping as this can reduce food waste and food costs.

  4. Use a mix of fresh, frozen, pantry staples in meals - meals can be created more quickly with frozen and canned foods used in addition to or in place of fresh versions. For example, consider keeping frozen diced onions on hand to avoid having to dice fresh onions one night for a meal!

  5. Allocate days of the week to meal plan - it may be difficult and unrealistic to plan a whole week's worth of meals, so start out with planning out a few meals at a time and allocate specific days of the week to stay consistent with the meal planning.

Create a Grocery List Based on Meal Plan

Once you have your meal plan good to go, create a grocery list based off your plan to quickly and easily pick up the ingredients needed at the grocery store! This can be done by hand or digitally, if you prefer. If time is limited for grocery shopping, consider using grocery delivery services or delegating trips to the grocery store with family members who can help out.

Prep Ingredients Ahead of Time

Consider preparing some of the ingredients for the meal in advance to make things easier for yourself. For example, sturdier vegetables such as carrots, onions, and peppers can be chopped and diced the night prior to cook the next day. Bases and sauces can oftentimes be prepped in advance. Find what works best for you and your family with your schedules.

Get the Family Involved in Meal Planning, Prepping, and Setting the Table

Don't make it a one man show! Get the whole family involved in meal planning, prepping, as well as setting the table to make dinner more of an event you all look forward to. By bringing kids or teens into the kitchen and getting the whole family involved, everyone will be more likely to enjoy the meals served and appreciate the experience of eating it together! Ask family members which meals they enjoy to find some family favorites that can be rotated.

Keep Track of Recipes

Keeping track of the recipes you and your family enjoy helps to make the meal planning process easier! This can be done using a photo album or binder of favorite recipes, Pinterest board, recipe spreadsheet, or even a journal. Or, perhaps it works best for you to use a mix of different methods. Find what works best for you and your family to keep track of your family favorites.


Note: This blog provides general information and discussions about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, website or in any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This blog does not constitute the practice of any medical, nursing or other professional health care advice, diagnosis or treatment. We cannot diagnose conditions, provide second opinions or make specific treatment recommendations through this blog or website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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